Andrew Martin

Journalist and novelist Andrew Martin is the author of the 'Jim Stringer' series of novels based around railways. He has written for the Independent on Sunday, the Evening Standard, the Sunday Times and the New Statesman among others.

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Wiggins: His accident might dent the enthusiasm of converts to cycling

You don't have to copy Bradley Wiggins. There is a better way

Walking has amazing health benefits (as well as being free), writes Andrew Martin

Why ‘Dad’s Army’ still makes us laugh

For all their fractiousness, they really are all in it together

Bonfire Night is our annual celebration of folk justice and this year's Fawkes is Lance Armstrong

In an increasing number of communities, Guy Fawkes has been sidelined in favour of a more topical victim - but where to locate a solid liberal perspective in this anarchy?

The Rolling Stones in the early days

Andrew Martin: Against the odds, the Rolling Stones have turned into role models

Those of us born in the year and month of the Rolling Stones' first gig (July 1962) tend to feel we somehow exist in a spin-off from their energy field. But surely even those not so closely tied in to their odyssey would welcome the almost-official news that they will be playing gigs in London and New York in November (this on top of rumours of a new album).

Tranquillity: St Giles, Imber, Wiltshire, a place of worship since the 13th century

Andrew Martin: I have a confession to make - I go to church

Our writer applauds a new report that says religion makes people happier, denies that religion is irrational, and wonders why his friends are so resistant to it

Taking the waters: Bottle-huggers Natalie Portman and Robert Pattinson

Andrew Martin: A nice cup of tea beats bottled water every time

The unnecessary accessory we began to eschew is trickling back into favour. Our writer tries to understand the appeal of fashionable plastic

Those were the days: The Seventies used to hum with the sound of men and their power tools

Andrew Martin: Real men carry power tools - or they used to

Falling house prices and the loss of a make-do-and-mend attitude have done for DIY. But our writer misses the sound of Sunday-morning sawing

Andrew Martin: We're so afraid of dying, we don't dare live

Our writer was a swot, but even his boyhood was reckless

Andrew Martin: I'd let the French run our trains

Their approach to railways is at once hard-headed and romantic
Mars has shrunk its bars, but what will it do with the Duo?

Giant snacks – meant for two, eaten by one

Andrew Martin chooses the smaller bar – and no sharing

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own